Smart Green Island Makeathon: igus promotes innovative ideas for the sustainable technologies of tomorrow
Published on: 4th April 2023
igus promotes an innovation festival on Gran Canaria and supports creative minds there with expertise and low-cost robotics
Designing, constructing and programming: that’s what the Smart Green Island Makeathon on Gran Canaria was all about. It was recently held for the sixth time, organised by ITQ GmbH. The prototyping event brings students, universities and companies from all over the world together to develop the innovative, sustainable technologies of tomorrow. The focus is on such topics as robotics and automation, smart and green energy and smart mobility. One of the event’s top sponsors is igus GmbH from Cologne, which supported the young talented people on site with expertise and low-cost robotics.
Innovation thanks to Education 4.0: that is the goal ITQ is pursuing with its Makeathon, in which interdisciplinary project teams spend four days working on prototypes for sustainable, innovative technologies. The event is aimed at international students and teachers from technical degree programmes – from programmers to engineers to IT specialists. The innovation festival gives them the opportunity to exchange ideas with companies and experts from industry, tackle real-world challenges and develop innovative solutions. The challenges can be set either by the companies or within the teams. The participants organise themselves into interdisciplinary groups in which everyone can contribute their individual skills. Many creative technical projects have already been developed in this way. This year, 364 people from 29 countries participated in the Makeathon, including 227 young people from 48 colleges and universities. They were supported by 25 companies.
Solutions for the digital future
The Smart Green Island Makeathon is focussed on the digital future. It addresses various topics, e.g. smart home, IoT, automation, robotics, smart farming, smart production, smart health, smart and green energy, smart mobility and connected systems. Students work on projects such as smart traffic monitoring and regulation or develop automated urban cultivation systems to produce fresh, sustainable food close to the city. They can also puzzle over innovative robotics applications, for instance for waste handling.
How robots can support sustainability
As a manufacturer of technical products, igus places special importance on sustainable materials. It develops and produces plain bearings from regranulated production waste and renewable raw materials, for instance, and makes energy chains from 100% recycled material. Therefore, the Industry Challenge igus set for the students was to build a robot that quickly harvests seaweed (a renewable raw material), cleans it and prepares it for use as insulating material in the construction industry. The plastics specialist supported the participants with its expertise and provided a wide selection of equipment from its Low Cost Automation range: the ReBeL cobot, delta and linear robots, individual axes, motors, control systems and partner products from the RBTX online marketplace, e.g. grippers and cameras. “The Smart Green Island Makeathon lets us start a direct dialogue with students. It’s exciting to see how our cost-effective automation products can be used in sustainable solutions,” says Alexander Mühlens, Head of Business Unit Low Cost Automation at igus. “At the same time, we want to share our knowledge to encourage young tech enthusiasts. Having fun is always a priority. New concepts and formats, such as the ITQ Makeathon, offer completely new opportunities for knowledge exchange, networking and the joint development of innovative technologies of tomorrow.”